Shopping in the recession

Shopping in the recession

Many economists are now saying we’ve either come out of the recession (technically) or will be within a month’s time, but if you’re not an economist it doesn’t mean much for a while. I was initially skeptical about how the crunch would affect me individually, but after I had two cars in the shop, my TV failed, and my air conditioner died all in the same month, call me a believer.

While my personal woes aren’t a result of a failing economy, many people close to me had been out of work for months. But for the majority of people, we feel the effects second hand and tighten our belts. Even if our jobs are secure and our paycheck is still the same, the way we approach spending our hard earned dough has changed.

Television sales are consistent even in these tough times thanks to the “staycation,” but manufacturers are still chopping prices like crazy worried sales will slump. So what if you’re in the market for a new high-def display, and maybe some new components as well?

Theater on a budgetFirst I want to say if you’re looking for a full on home theater system, leave it to the experts and hire a CEDIA installer. They can run all the wires in the walls, and install speakers, and TVs, and program a control system for simple control of the many devices you will end up with. But say you’re just putting in a simple system like mine and don’t mind cables running all over your living room, then I’ve got a few tips.

Shop at Costco

Every time I go to Costco I learn of a new service they provide for their members. Besides their very generous return policy, Costco also extends the manufacturer’s warranty on televisions, projectors and computers two years from the date of purchase automatically. They also provide a free concierge service for phone support helping you install or troubleshoot televisions, computers, projectors, camera, and more.

Their selection isn’t very good, usually just a selection of Vizio displays with a few tier-one brands for higher price points (and then usually an entry-level product). However, if you’re on a budget you’re not in the market for the best display money can buy, you’re looking for the best display your money can buy.

Use your credit card

I give this advice only if you have the cash to immediately pay the purchase off.

Check with your credit card company and see if they offer additional warranties. Many creditors offer extended warranties when you purchase it on their card.


Most electronic stores allow measure of negotiation. Do your home work first to find what prices are online and in other stores and then fight for the best deal, maybe get them to throw in cables for free.

Right now is a terrific time to buy a flat panel display. Many manufacturers have been cutting their prices to record lows, and even bundling in free Blu-ray Disc players, home delivery and setup. Holiday deals might not get much better than what you can find right now.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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